Blinded by the flashing and ever circling lights, I paused for a moment just before the ante to take a second look at my cards. Unfortunately sunglasses don’t always hide the twitch in the right eye of the enormous man sitting beside me. I threw in my ante.
“Let the game begin.” The dealer announces.
All is quiet for the first few rounds; everyone is trying their best to read one another, but I won’t let them see me. My father trained me for this day, and I won’t let his secrets pass me by.
“200 to you.” the dealer points at me with his eyes, and slight movement of his right pointer and middle fingers.
“I call, and raise another 200.” I said with confidence.
The whole table pauses, for this is the first time I decided to raise during the tournament. Being the only woman, and well the smallest person sitting at the table, it’s quite easy to understand why. I’ve been playing them this whole time and they don’t even know it. Taking small hits and folding better hands to keep them waiting on my arrival to the real game. I do this to weed out the bluffers, and study the faces of my opponents. The first few rounds aren’t about gains in sum, but about the game itself. I now have the upper hand and I’m ready to bring out my little black book.
My little black journal was given to me by my father before he passed away. It holds all the secrets of Texas Holdem that he had figured out over a lifetime of playing. Inside this book, he has written every possible hand that can be played, and the probability of it winning the pot. It also covers psychological facts about the opponents he has played and how they react to different situations. I have studied my little journal, front to back and page to page; I know it like the back of my hand.
As the game continues, I have won seven of 15 rounds, two people have gone bankrupt, and I’m sitting pretty with my piles and piles of chips. There are four of us left, the steaks are high, and I have the almighty hand. My objective is to play on the confidence of my opponents, without forgetting that they have realized my skill. Each hand dealt out by the dealer, I watch my opponents look at their hands before quickly noticing my own. The player to my right has the large blind, plays it, then turns to look at me. I wait just a few moments to allow them to believe I’m contemplating my hand, when truly I could have instantly thrown my ante into the pot. Finally I call the blind and wait for the player to my left to call. It seems as if every player has called the blind this round and I’m ready to unleash my power.
The dealer discards and deals the flop. There it is, I knew it. There are a few magical hands that can lead to the ultimate end of a tournament, and it can do it quickly. Every player must have something come out on the flop, and in this case all four of us must have something ready to bet on. On the table reads: Ace of Diamonds, Queen of Clubs, and Nine of Hearts.
“To you, Miss Alisa.” the dealer states.
The first move must not be as big as the confidence you have in your hand, that way you can intrigue the other players to play along and call your bet.
“250!” I announced.
Now is the time that I watch the others. This is when I can find out if each of the other players have something in the flop. If they do, then the plan is set, and it awaits my command.
“I call 250, and raise it to 500.” says the man beside the dealer.
Perfect, he’s playing right into my hand. By already having all players in, whilst raising the pot’s sum, If each player calls, I will win this tournament with my almighty and magical hand.
“I call,” said each player surrounding the table.
The confidence in this room is spiking, and I can see the sweat forming beneath their pours. The dealer himself seems excited for this round. I am doing everything I can to stay calm and apply what my Father taught me about subtlety. The dealer discards and deals the fourth card onto the table.
“Eight of Hearts.” The dealer flips.
The player to my right holds his breath, while the player to my left fiddles with his sunglasses. The dealer points to me to check, fold, or bet. After the fourth card is dealt, one should take the last bet, and either do the same, check, fold, or bet higher.
“500!” I bet
On my left, the player raises to 800 with no hesitation. The others call and it comes back around to me, I continue to play with ease.
“Call.” I said calmly.
Now it is time for the last card to turn, and for larger bets to be placed. It is apparent that every player has cards that have a possibility to win, as stated in the little black book, but they do not have the magical hand to win this tournament. As the dealer discards, we all chime in closer to the center of the table, awaiting the final play of the game. The player beside the dealer is nearly out of chips. On my right, the player only has enough to go in all the way, and so the only real competition remains with the man on my left. We nearly match each other, and it all comes down to this very last card.
“Ace of Clubs!” the dealer flips.
Inside my brain, I’m jumping with joy, screaming in the faces of my opponents, and taking the $20,000 grand prize and stuffing it into my small dainty pockets; but on the outside I’m composed and stiff. This is the moment to pressure the lot to go all in.
“To you, Miss Alisa.” said the dealer.
“All-in.” I said as I pushed my chips towards the pot for the dealer to count.
Instantly the room went quiet, with only the subtle sounds of gasps, and awe’s. The probability of being dealt pocket aces is 1 in 221. So, there is about a 0.5% chance that I was given the almighty hand of the tournament, but here I stand with all the power in the room, and a large pot on the table. Just like that, I watched my opponents push their chips into the pot, thinking that I am full of it. One by one, the players called my all-in and it was time for the reveal.
Since I was first bet, I had to flip first; this allows other players to decide to show their hands or not.
“Four of a kind.” I said whilst letting out a large breath of air.
The entirety of the room was both saddened and amazed. The player to my left revealed his straight, beside the dealer was a two pair, and to my right, nobody would ever know. This was the first tournament I ever won, and the first one I attended after the death of my Father. Thanks to him and his little black book, I will be back, and I will continue to win.